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Eligibility Criteria Based on Need

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

2113. Eligibility Criteria Based on Need

2113.1 Does your income amount determine whether you are eligible for SSI?

Yes. In order to receive SSI benefits, you cannot have monthly countable income more than the current Federal benefit rate (FBR). The FBR for an eligible couple is approximately one and one half as much as that for an individual. These amounts are set by law and are subject to annual increases based on cost-of-living adjustments. As of January 2008, the FBR for an individual is $637 and that for an eligible couple is $956. However, individual States may supplement these amounts.

(See §§2128-2147 for more information on how income affects both eligibility and payment amount.)

2113.2 Does the amount of real or personal property you own determine whether you are eligible for SSI?

Yes. In order to receive SSI benefits, you cannot own countable real or personal property (including cash) in excess of a specified amount at the beginning of each month. For an individual with an eligible or ineligible spouse, the applicable limit is one and one-half times as much as that for an individual without a spouse. These limits are set by law, and they are not subject to regular cost-of-living adjustments. But they are subject to change. The limits for January 2008 are $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple.

Note: Resources do not affect payment amount. (See §§2148-2166 for more information on how resources affect eligibility.)

Last Revised: Feb. 1, 2008

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